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Government plans to set up dedicated university for churning out quality media professionals

Education NewsThe idea has been borrowed from China, according to officials at the information and broadcasting ministry, and will produce world-class journalists and skilled media professionals, they said. Most of the graduates of the Communication University of China, the I&B ministry’s model, work for China Central Television, which is regarded as an arm of the state. Arun Jaitley, who holds the I&B portfolio along with that of finance, is said to be monitoring the project’s evolution closely.

A senior ministry official elaborated on the vision behind the project and why the plethora of institutes in India fall short when it comes to producing the right sort of media professionals. “There are many institutes that offer journalism and media courses here but it has been noted that there is a lack of clarity, depth and vision,” the person said. “It is the PM’s idea to have a university that churns out quality journalists and media professionals. Minister Jaitley himself is looking at the developments in the project.”

Some experts are skeptical about the plan. “How open-minded and professionally diverse will this institute be is the question,” said political commentator and academic Shiv Visvanathan. “Will the board be allowed to handle controversies on its own? Will the emphasis of curriculum be on technology alone or will there be an inter-disciplinary approach to communication with a focus on fine arts and creative writing? These are what will determine the standing of the university,” said Visvanathan.

Veteran journalist and educator Sashi Kumar, who’s also founder of the Media Development Foundation that runs the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, said he wasn’t surprised by the proposal. “Considering how communication savvy the PM is, it is not strange that he has come up with an idea like this,” Kumar said. “But what will actually make it an institute of excellence is what constitutes it — the curriculum, approach, and teaching.”

Sunit Tandon, director general of the government-backed Indian Institute of Mass Communication, has been closely involved in the brainstorming. “A communication university is an ambitious idea but an idea that the country needs,” Tandon said. “We are also looking at being inclusive, by putting in a multilingual and interdisciplinary approach to journalism and media studies.”

Source: The Economic Times

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